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JazzTimes 10: Jazz on Film

Ten great examples of what happens when jazz goes to the movies—and the movies go to jazz

4. Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1960)
Take a dive with director Bert Stern in the healing, calming, balming, aquamarine waters of jazz, which no summer heat can beat. It sure looked toasty on this afternoon at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1958, even with the shots of crafts on the breeze-rippled ocean. There is no dialogue, no narration, but there is a lot of pure sound poesy. If colors—and they are rich here—could talk, they would talk in the sounds of jazz, you start to think. I like the confluence element, where Chuck Berry and Big Maybelle are every bit as jazz as Sonny Stitt and Thelonious Monk, which makes a certain amount of sense. You think Monk wasn’t sometimes doing with his piano licks what Berry was riffing away at in the starts of his songs?

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Originally Published

Colin Fleming

Colin Fleming writes fiction and nonfiction on myriad topics—art, film, music, sports, literature, current events—for a wide range of publications, and talks regularly on radio and podcasts. His most recent books are an entry in the 33 1/3 series on Sam Cooke’s Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963, a volume about the 1951 film Scrooge as the ultimate work of cinematic terror, and the story collection, If You [ ]: Fabula, Fantasy, F**kery, Hope. Find him on the web at (where he maintains the unique online journal, the Many Moments More blog) and on Twitter @colinfleminglit. He lives in Boston and has contributed to JazzTimes since 2006.